Poetry‎ > ‎THE POET LI PO‎ > ‎


The first edition of the poems was in ten chuan, and was published by Li Yang-ping in the year of the poet's death. The preface tells us that Li Po had lost his own MSS. of almost all the poems written during the eight years of his wanderings that is, from about 753 to 761. A few copies had been procured from friends. About 770 Wei Hao produced an edition of twenty chuan, many additional poems having come to light in the interval. 

In 998 Yo Shih added the prose works, consisting of five letters and various prefaces, petitions, monumental inscrip- tions, etc. 

In 1080 Sung Min-ch'iu published the works in thirty chüan, the form in which they still exist. There are just under 1,000 poems and about sixty prose pieces. 

In 1759 an annotated edition was published by Wang Ch'i, with six chüan of critical and biographical matter added to the thirty chüan of the works. 

It is this edition which has been chiefly used by European readers and to which references are made in the present paper. It was reprinted by the Sao Yeh Co. of Shanghai in 1908. 

The text of the poems is remarkable for the number of variant readings, which in some cases affect crucial words in quite short poems, in others extend to a whole line or couplet. A printed text of the thirteenth century containing the annotations of Yang Tzu-chien is generally followed in current editions. This is known as the Hsiao text ; a Ming reprint of it is sometimes met with. 

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, a Sung printed edition came into the hands of a Mr. Miu at Soochow ; he reprinted it in facsimile. This is known as the Miu text. As there is no means of deciding which of these two has the better authority, my choice of readings has been guided by personal preference.